Pittsburgh is not the #8 defense. Not even close. They have one of the worst defenses in the league really.
They were 24th in the league in TDs given up per drive and 27th in points given up per drive, as well as 18th in yards allowed per drive. All while playing mostly offensively challenged teams.
Some of those number will be better after this past Sunday, but Pittsburgh's defense is not very good.
I think the two keys will be:
Pressure: Brady will dice you up if you let him scan the field, or allow time for double moves. The Panthers have done a good job getting to the QB before those things can even happen all year and even Brady can get jittery when there is pressure. Our DTs will be more important than our DEs in the pass rush. Brady loves to step up and deliver a strike with pressure, but when he can't step up he has a tendency to surrender the play. He can't have room to step up. The DTs have to get push on passing plays.
Keep NE out of the endzone: The Panther's defense are 2nd in the NFL in points allowed in the redzone, 3rd in TDs not allowed up per redzone trip, and 1st in TD/FG ratio. New England's offense however, even with the Pitt game, are 17th in points per redzone visit, 17th in TDs per redzone visit, and 26th in TD/FG ratio.
Point being, they can move the ball, but have had issues in the redzone. We have proven to be stingy when teams have gotten into our redzone. That trend needs to continue. Brady will move the ball. We have to limit him to FGs and not TDs.